Peter Meehan named Times Food editor; Ben Mims and Genevieve Ko join staff to cover cooking
The Los Angeles Times announces the return of a standalone print section dedicated to food, dining and cooking. The section will relaunch on Thursdays in April under the direction of recently named Food Editor Peter Meehan and Deputy Food Editor Andrea Chang.
“We view Los Angeles as the nation’s food capital, and the print section, which will serve as a weekly digest of our daily coverage, is an expression of our determination to provide the world’s best, most authoritative and comprehensive coverage of it,” Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine said.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the incredible team The Times has assembled to bring back a weekday Food section,” said Meehan, who joined the paper last year. “It’ll give us the space to stretch out, to get weird, to go deeper and, simply, to do more to cover what’s happening in L.A. and beyond.”
As part of its expanded coverage of food, The Times has hired Ben Mims as cooking columnist and Genevieve Ko as cooking editor; both will begin in February. Mims is a recipe developer, editor and cookbook author, and formerly the test kitchen director at Lucky Peach, food editor of Saveur and a food editor at Food & Wine. Ko is the author or co-author of numerous books; has been a contributor to NYT Cooking, Bon Appetit and Gourmet; and has served as a director or editor at multiple media brands, including Shape, Health, Good Housekeeping and Martha Stewart.
“Southern California, where so many cultures and ingredients converge, is an incredibly exciting place for cooking and eating,” said Senior Deputy Managing Editor Kimi Yoshino. “Our hope is that we’ll help readers get the most out of their trips to farmers markets, the meals they prepare at home and their explorations of the rich variety of dining experiences throughout the region.”
In addition, Rachel Schnalzer has been hired as the audience engagement editor for Food to help guide its social media presence. She joins The Times from BuzzFeed, where she produced, shot and edited videos; before that, she was an editor at Snapchat.
The hires join a newly expanded Food team that includes restaurant critics Bill Addison and Patricia Escárcega, who began in December. In addition to writing weekly reviews, the two will launch a critics’ newsletter in the spring. Food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson and staff writer Jenn Harris are developing new video series for latimes.com and will make regular appearances on The Times’ and Spectrum News 1’s upcoming daily news program, “L.A. Times Today.” Staff writer Amy Scattergood will continue covering the food and dining industry, including cookbook reviews, feature stories and profiles. Gustavo Arellano, a reporter at The Times, will also contribute regular pieces for the section.
The return of the standalone Food section and the hiring of Mims, Ko and Schnalzer is representative of the Los Angeles Times’ push to increase its food coverage across multiple platforms and to regions beyond Los Angeles. The Saturday features section, which currently includes the paper’s food and dining coverage, will expand in April as well, with enhanced coverage of Southern California’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle, entertaining, design and decor trends, shopping, D.I.Y. projects, gardening, and health and fitness.
The Times is currently building a new state-of-the-art test kitchen at its El Segundo headquarters to showcase recipes and cooking trends. In addition, Times food coverage extends to its signature food festivals: the monthlong Food Bowl in May; The Taste, slated for the fall; and the paper’s annual event celebrating its list of the 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles.